Sri Dharma Mittra has spent most of his life in service to humanity, disseminating the ancient knowledge of how to achieve radiant health and spiritual development. He was born in the late 1930’s and has studied Yoga since 1958. After meeting his guru (teacher), Sri Swami Kailashananda, he immersed himself in intense study and practice of the classical eight limbs of Yoga and nine years of dedicated full time practice of Karma Yoga. Sri Swami Kailashananda is known as the first Guru to bring the practice of Hatha Yoga to the west in the early 1950’s. Sri Dharma was accepted and initiated as a sannyasi (one who renounces the world in order to realize God). During these years he had the esteemed honor of being the personal assistant to the Guru attending to all his needs.
Dharma Mittra spent many years as a full-time yogi and brahmachari (celibate religious student who lives with his teacher and devotes himself to the practice of spiritual disciplines). He then began teaching, only for his Guru and with selfless expectation. He was the main demonstrator for the Yoga asanas at the many lectures the Guru gave to the public in the ’60’s and ’70’s. After many years as a celebrated teacher at his guru’s Ashram, Sri Dharma left in 1974 to found the Yoga Asana Center, currently known as Dharma Yoga New York Center.
Sri Dharma was one of the first independent Yoga teachers on the East Coast, initiating hundreds of thousands on the path of Yogic practice and teaching. Dharma Mittra began disseminating this knowledge before “styles” of Yoga became popular, and has remained truthful to the original classical practice. Students from all walks and styles of Yoga love his teachings. Sri Dharma has literally been teaching classes continuously every day since he started in 1967. To this day he still makes himself available regularly to anyone who walks through the doors of the Dharma Yoga Centers in need of help and direction. He is known as “the Rock of Yoga” due to his dedication and fortitude, and also as the “Teacher’s Teacher” for his experience and knowledge. Sri Dharma continues to inspire, enlighten, and reveal the real meaning of Yoga to Yoga teachers and practitioners daily. Sri Dharma writes: “It is my greatest joy to share with students this knowledge that I have acquired in the past 50 years of practice and study. Dharma Yoga practice will give one’s body the power and strength to have resistance to common illnesses and diseases. With proper encouragement and increased faith in the Guru, as one can improve his physical body and mental attitude rapidly, thereby igniting the higher motives of making one’s self useful to himself and all mankind.”
Sri Dharma is a most beloved Yoga Master, known for his humility, humor, joy and kindness in teaching. Every student who comes to his practices is treated “as part of his family.” He diligently teaches the Yamas, the first step of Yoga, as he sets the greatest example for it in his life. In every class you will hear “without the Yama’s, known as the ethical rules, there is no success in Yoga.” He tirelessly promotes ahimsa (nonharming) through vegetarianism, veganism, a live food Yoga diet, and kindness to all living beings, especially our inferior brothers in the animal kingdom.
“When I am in his (Dharma) circle of love and kindness, I could really feel I’m surrounded by huge love of god and mother earth.”
In 1975, Dharma created the Sun Salutation and Yoga Course Chart. This chart includes all hand-done drawings and art work, as well as photographs and two Yoga class programs. In 1984, he completed the Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures as an offering to his Guru for all Yoga aspirants. This original masterpiece was meticulously assembled from over 1,350 photographs of posture variations he took of himself, all hand crafted before the computer age. Over 300 of these now-popular postures were created by Sri Dharma (though he will say they only “came through” Divine intuition). The poster has been an invaluable teaching tool for decades. It can be found in in just about every Yoga school and Ashram worldwide including in India. The poster was also used as the tool and inspiration for Yoga Journal’s book -Yoga, where he is featured in his headstand series. Dharma Mittra is also the author of 608 Yoga Poses, published by New World Library and featured in American Yoga. HisMaha Sadhana DVD set, containing Level I – A Shortcut to Immortality and Level II – Stairway to Bliss, has been widely acclaimed for its preservation of the main teachings of Yoga. They contain 8 hours of posture practice, breathing teachings, holy discourses, and Kirtan, providing an amazing overview of Sri Dharma’s years of dedicated service to the tradition.